Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Dr. Jeanne L. Surface
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators, which leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy (Hossain & Robinson, 2012). We have been hearing the warnings for several years, that there simply are not enough young scientists entering into the STEM professional pathways to replace all of the retiring professionals (Brown, Brown, Reardon, & Merrill, 2011; Harsh, Maltese, & Tai, 2012; Heilbronner, 2011; Scott, 2012). The problem is not necessarily due to a lack of STEM skills and concept proficiency. There also appears to be a lack of interest in these fields. Recent evidence suggests that many of the most proficient students, especially minority students and women, have been gravitating away from science and engineering toward other professions. (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2010). The purpose of this qualitative research study was an attempt to determine how high schools can best prepare and encourage young women for a career in engineering or computer science. This was accomplished by interviewing a pool of 21 women, 5 recent high school graduates planning to major in STEM, 5 college students who had completed at least one full year of coursework in an engineering or computer science major and 11 professional women who had been employed as an engineer or computer scientist for at least one full year. These women were asked to share the high school courses, activities, and experiences that best prepared them to pursue an engineering or computer science major. Five central themes emerged from this study; coursework in physics and calculus, promotion of STEM camps and clubs, teacher encouragement of STEM capabilities and careers, problem solving, critical thinking and confidence building activities in the classroom, and allowing students the opportunity to fail and ask questions in a safe environment. These themes may be implemented by any instructor, in any course, who wishes to provide students with the means to success in their quest for a STEM career.
Genoways, Sharon K., "The Experiences of Female High School Students and Interest in STEM: Factors Leading to the Selection of an Engineering or Computer Science Major" (2017). Student Work. 3650.